Have you heard of the word influencer? If you’re a blogger, then you definitely have. The term gets bounced around a lot in the blogging world!
I first saw myself actively described as an influencer quite recently, in the midst of volleying emails back and forth with a company regarding an upcoming collaboration. The brand’s contact person I was in touch with forwarded a request to someone else in the company, saying “please send __ to this influencer.” It took me a sec when scanning that email to recognize they were referring to me as the influencer! It was a new way to label myself so it caught me by surprise.
Some bloggers actually refer to themselves as an influencer, too, as their job description. I’ve never labeled myself as one before, but I suppose I am one! This has been on my mind a lot lately so I’m finally sitting down to share some thoughts on the topic.
To start our conversation, I snagged a definition of the word influencer from Influencer Marketing Hub:
An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. An individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with.
I’d say this is super accurate! Influencers are often bloggers, but there are still a lot of influencers out there who just work via Instagram, who have built up a popular account with a huge audience. Many companies are shifting their focus away from strictly having ad campaigns and are moving towards more personal recommendations from influencers. They’re recognizing the power that individuals truly have, especially those who have a large “following” or who are able to reach a really large audience.
Being an Influencer in the Blogging World
I think influencer marketing is generally a good thing. I love a more personal feel when I’m learning about a brand or product, and of course, as a consumer, I’m more likely to try something when someone I like or trust has recommended it to me!
Think of it like this: instead of an ad from a large company telling you to go and try this new greatest thing, a friend of yours gushes all about a new product she’s been using and loving! Which of these situations is more likely to get you to buy?
Being an influencer should not just mean that you have the power to recommend random stuff all the time, with no thought put into it. I consider that to be unethical. To me, being an influencer involves a significant amount of responsibility that should not be taken lightly!
Of course, there are many bloggers and influencers out there who “sell out” and eagerly recommend any type of product a brand contacts them about. I’m sure you’ve seen people like this. It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of their followers. And I think it makes people take them less seriously. I don’t think there is anything wrong with accepting compensation or product in exchange for a truly honest review. The key word is honest.
To me, being an influencer has also meant countless times I’ve had to say no! I’ve turned down so many collaboration requests because their products didn’t align with the overall mission or values here at Just Bee. It can be a bummer to know you’re saying no to compensation of some sort, but it’s worth it to me if I’m staying authentic.
I only want to share products with you here that I have personally tried and am excited about! I feel a weight of responsibility as the author and content creator for Just Bee. I work hard to maintain honesty, integrity, and authenticity in this online space!
I believe that the responsibility of being an influencer translates over into everyday life as well.
You’re an Influencer, Too
I think that being an influencer can be seen as an even more general concept. Look at that definition again:
An influencer is an individual who has the POWER TO AFFECT purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. An individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with.
See the words I capitalized? An influencer is someone with the POWER TO AFFECT. That is huge!!
Having the power to affect others (for better or for worse) is a major part of what it is to be human. It’s the nature of having relationships with others and of functioning in a society!
Each of us has been given specific niches or spheres of influence, and what’s crazy to me is how very unique they can be. You are positioned in SUCH a particular place in the world, friend. You are the only one living with this exact cross-section of relationships, jobs, living locations, and interactions…anywhere on the planet! Do you know how perfectly, uniquely positioned you are?
There have been times in my life when I wanted to be anywhere else – even wanted to be someone else! There were times when I wanted to walk away, to quit, to selfishly give up on dealing with certain situations. But when I stayed, my eyes were opened to the fact that I was actually exactly where God wanted me to be. And I learned over time that He wanted me to speak words of encouragement or support to someone, or I learned I was the only one who could stop by and help them out that day.
So guess what? You are an influencer, too!
Your conversations, your actions, your attentions – they’re all directed towards the people in your spheres of influence. The exact people you get to interact with are most likely people that I will never have that exact relationship with myself. Not only do you have the influence in people’s lives to recommend a fun new recipe or hair product; you also have the influence to affect their thinking and changes that happen in their life, too. What incredible power that actually gives you. Power that should NEVER, ever be taken lightly. When you have a particular position or authority in someone’s life, even if it’s not for forever, you have the power to affect them in a long-term way.
The complicated part about being an influencer in everyday life is it doesn’t always have to do with product recommendations. Oftentimes, we influence each other on a much bigger scale. We influence others’ life decisions, how they feel about themselves, how the trajectory of their life is unfolding… Words and actions can be life-giving and uplifting, or they can cause dissension or discouragement.
So, since I’m feeling this weight myself, I want to lovingly ask you: How are you honoring that responsibility in your own life? Do people walk away from an interaction with you feeling better or worse – about themselves, about life? Since I’m a Christian, I also look at it from the angle of faith. Do people’s interactions with me leave them feeling more positively about God or more negatively about Christianity? It’s a big responsibility, but it is one that we are called to do joyfully each day.
Have you found yourself in a very specific situation or sphere of influence before? How have others’ influences on you affected you over time? This is a big responsibility and a gift that we’re all given. Let’s use our positions as influencers wisely!